I’m downsizing again. After ten years living in my lovely little apartment, I’m moving to an even smaller apartment, and I can’t wait.

When we moved here ten years ago, it took a big downsizing effort. We came from a large four-bedroom plus study, two living space home with a garage, a swimming pool and two sheds, to a two-bedroom inner city apartment with car spaces but only a small storage cage. We got rid of a lot of furniture, bric-a-brac, books, collections, gardening equipment, excess tools, kitchenware and more. But we found a happy way of living with less stuff and less space and have made the most of the space available. Right now, my husband and I both work from home, so our little apartment is punching above its weight but still delivers us a comfortable lifestyle.

So why are we moving? And why are we downsizing? Well, we decided to futureproof our lifestyle and find a home that doesn’t involve stairs to access it. We love the area where we live and so our search area was tiny. We considered several options but finally settled on one with a fabulous city view. I honestly can’t believe our luck. We found a place just one street over, a little closer to the action we love and still close to all the local amenities. The views are spectacular, the apartment building is great, the light and feel of our new home is more than I could have hoped for. But there is a downside. While the outdoor terrace is huge with its lovely outlook, the dimensions of the apartment are smaller than where we live now. It’s going to take some clever solutions to fit us and our stuff in.

My Downsizing View

But I don’t want to simply shoehorn all our possessions into that new home. I want to keep the feeling of light and space. I also want to still have overnight guests and work from home. It will be a challenge, but I’m up for that challenge.

It’s going to require major decluttering, which I have already begun. The first thing I noticed is that I had to make different choices and set different policies. You may have heard me talk about my lovely cookie cutter collection. If not, you can read about it here from an article I wrote back in 2009. I have more than halved it. (To be honest, I may have to reduce it more, but I’ll wait and see.) I had already made a big cut to the collection when we moved from our large family home, but over the years additions have been made to the collection. I took all but one of the discarded cookie cutters to my daughter-in-law. I told her whatever she doesn’t want can go to the op shop. That last one cookie cutter was a pink flamingo, which I picked up as a souvenir from a trip to Florida. I posted it to friend who has a real fondness for flamingos. I knew it would make her smile.

You may have heard of my policy of keeping all signed-by-the-author copies of books. That policy helped me in the last downsize, but I’ve had to review that policy now. Yes, several signed copies of organising books have been shared with organiser colleagues. Others have been donated to the local Little Library for others in the neighbourhood to enjoy.

I’ve sent many pairs of shoes to the op shop. Of course, some were in no fit state to be worn by anybody else, but many had been worn just a few times. Gone are the days when I will put up with sore feet for the sake of fashion. Anything that doesn’t feel totally comfortable had to go. But I still had to fight irrational thoughts like “But I paid good money for those.” How many times have I heard that from clients? In the end I was left with a good selection of comfortable, good-looking shoes. There were also three pairs of “maybe” shoes. I decided to wear them for a couple of days before making my final decision. It’s been fun dressing up and trying them out. One pair stayed, the other two were passed on.

So far, the downsizing, reprioritising, and decluttering has not been too difficult, even though I’ve parted with things which held fond memories. Whenever I am confronted with a tough choice, I think about that view and know what I am willing to do to make it mine and to enjoy my life there.

It’s good to put myself in the position of my clients and face some of the uncomfortable feelings they face. It’s good to notice my thought processes and coping strategies. Some days I don’t have the time or energy to make lots of decisions, just like my clients. Some days I declutter the “low hanging fruit”, the stuff that doesn’t have an emotional pull or require much thought. Other days I declutter like crazy. It feels like my dream home is coming closer, even though the moving date hasn’t changed.

I still have a way to go, and I would love to hear your downsizing advice.

7 Comments
  1. Linda Jenkins 4 weeks ago

    Exciting times Angela ! Each of our house moves has seen us Declutter. It’s easier as the kids become adults. I start with the non emotional stuff. I had accrued a lot of vases in our last house but got that collection down to 2 ! I only kept my very favorite books and many went to the op shop. Passing things in to others who need them makes it easier. Your goal of keeping things light is a great motivator. All the best with this new adventure.

    • Author
      Angela 4 weeks ago

      Thanks for sharing. As a matter of fact, Linda, vases are next on my list for decluttering. I should be able to get rid of at least 20! And I have a great op shop that loves my donations.

  2. Noela 4 weeks ago

    Oh my god, I have just read the last comment and now feel very light, even though I only have 2 biscuit cutters and 2 vase we all collect and fill our spaces.
    Downsizing to future proof is a great place to be and so excited for you, I still do most of my decluttering at the shop unless like the other day I brought an old mincer as I dislike todays mince and will try my hand at making my own!
    Downsizing advice I think you are all over it Angela. My main one if you know your new space is to plan your items into their new homes. I feel this gives a greater sense of how full the new space will be. I ask clients to try to have at least 20% empty wall and cupboard space for the new things a new space excites the senses into acquiring. Love your work Noela

    • Author
      Angela 4 weeks ago

      We’re lucky that the current owners let us in to measure up the other day, so that gives us a head start on knowing what will fit. The answer is… not as much as we thought! LOL

  3. Erin 2 weeks ago

    Hi Angela. I really enjoyed reading this, thank you!
    I seem to have the opposite problem… we moved house a little over 12 months ago and in the lead up to the move I started decluttering and getting rid of as much stuff as possible. We were moving to a bigger house but I wanted to make sure we weren’t wasting time and energy moving things we didn’t need. The problem is I am still in the mindset of “I need to get rid of everything” even though that’s really not the case as the house is not cluttered and everything has a home. Every few weekends I want to go through all my drawers and cupboards and see what I can get rid of! I get the sense I’m going overboard but keen to hear your thoughts!dfr

    • Author
      Angela 2 weeks ago

      I’m glad the move went well for you. Living with your best stuff doesn’t have to involve living with a full house.

      But here’s a thought… if you enjoy decluttering so much, maybe you should consider becoming a professional organiser. 😉 Let me know if you want to talk about the options.

      • Erin 2 weeks ago

        Wow, that’s very true! Thank you.
        To be honest I am really, really thinking about it! I am currently studying an Advanced Diploma in Building Design though which I’m due to finish at the end of 2023 so will reassess my options then 🙂

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